Canada’s qualification to the World Cup: Why it's Important?
As the final whistle blew on a frigid day in Toronto, the Canadian men’s National Soccer team celebrated their victory over Jamaica like no other victory throughout their qualifications in the CONCACAF division, but they celebrated because after a 36-year absence Canada was back in the FIFA World Cup.
The Canadian men’s team has been around since 1924 and have been always been a contender in the CONCACAF division, winning the sought after title in 1985 and thus qualifying for the 1986 World Cup. But since then the team’s presence and dominance in world football had dwindled. For years it seemed like the team was always short of a few players and the fight and grit they showed never seemed enough. The team looked stuck in a barren desert with no prospects, as diehard supporters will attest to.
But with the rise of generational talents, and with the emergence of a plan with a manager who has long term goals, the objectives seemed to be getting achievable with every passing hour. Canadian players have shone in European football over the last few years with star striker Jonathan David, full-back and Champions League winner Alphonso Davies, the future for Canadian soccer seemed brighter.
After years of missing pieces to complete their puzzle seems like the team has finally hit the Jackpot! a team consisting of veterans and young players hoping to leave their mark created a melting pot of experience and sheer talent, spearheaded by a coach with the same ambitions as the team.
A team that has no leader fails to have a plan, it is safe to say that the team has found one in coach John Herdman. After setting up the Canadian Women’s team to become a force to contend with on the world stage, his services were acquired for the men’s team, which is too uncommon for coaches at the international level. He is a clear communicator and more importantly a strong motivator. His choices and decisions from formations to team management have been spot on and have produced the desired results.
Why this qualification stands out from the rest? For years Canada has been tethered at the fringes of the FIFA world cup, but the long-forgotten dream is finally real and it is only the by-product of years of infrastructure development and careful decisions that have made it possible. This qualification stands as a stepping stone for future talent emerging from Canada and as a message that we’re here to stay on the international playing field. How Canada will prevail in its test against other world cup behemoths only time will tell, but you can’t blame them for dreaming big.